Foodservice Equipment Reports

NRA Announces 2014 KI Award Recipients

The National Restaurant Association announced on Feb. 12 the recipients of the 2014 Kitchen Innovations Awards, which honor equipment and technology that specifically improve back-of- the-house operations to benefit restaurant operators. The announcement marks the 10th year of the association’s KI Awards program recognizing cutting-edge advancements in increased energy efficiency, waste reduction and more for the foodservice industry.

This year’s 24 KI Awards recipients offer solutions for operators addressing waste reduction, energy conservation, enhanced sanitation and increased efficiency with equipment that showcases hybrid cooking techniques and reduced cooking times. The winners will be on display at May’s NRA Show in Chicago.

The 2014 Kitchen Innovation Award recipients are:

  • Alto-Shaam CT PROformance Combitherm Oven: Touchscreen-controlled combi-oven features an accelerated startup temperature booster, reducing cook times by up to 20%; it requires zero clearance for other equipment.




  • BioZone Scientific Int’l. IceZone X: Scalable to treat almost any commercial ice machine, this clean-in-place sanitation system uses patented ultraviolet light oxidation to prevent contamination and eliminate 99%+ of surface micro-contamination.




  • BKON Craft Brewer: Negative-pressure brewing technology allows operators to craft any loose-leaf tea beverage, third-wave coffee or made-to-order infused cocktail with precision and speed.




  • Champion Industries Dry Assist: Undercounter and door-style dishwasher technology draws cool, dry air up and through the rack of sanitized ware via a duct in the chamber bottom, removing moisture and speeding drying/turnaround time for dishes.




  • Edlund Co. Model KSUV-18 UV Knife Sterilization Cabinet: Patent-pending knife cabinet utilizes UV light to sterilize cutlery in as little as 5 minutes; there are no chemicals and no risk of rust/pitting on knives.




  • Environmental Products & Services GreaseShield ECO 1850 PreFilter Low Level: Protects drainage systems and harvests renewable energy resources by using waste thermal energy to remove emulsified FOGs before they solidify and removing and dehydrating organic waste to eliminate foul-smelling anaerobic conditions.




  • Fired Up Kitchens Smoke Zapper: A filtering system that works with a hood or oven-direct vent to yield U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-compliant emissions from wood-, coal- or charcoal-fired equipment, allowing safe, clean use for more operations.




  • Garland Induction FlexiHob Technology: The technology automatically adjusts electrical input to offer the flexibility of cooking with various sized pans on the same induction unit, making it appropriate for à la carte or batch cooking, all while saving energy.




  • Henny Penny Velocity Series Pressure Fryer: The unit’s automatic oil filtration requires no operator intervention and enables filtration after every load for improved oil quality and four-times-longer oil life without sacrificing productivity.




  • Industrial Skins Bio-Tile Multi-Layered Ceiling Tile Application: This 100% recyclable, protective surface, applied to new or existing vinyl ceiling tiles, features five layers that peel away individually to provide a clean, contamination-free surface for professional kitchens.




  • Manitowoc Beverage Multiplex Manual Fill Blend-in-Cup System: The automated system makes and dispenses smoothies, frappes and blended and over-ice drinks completely in a cup to help operators efficiently prepare a broad range of drinks and expand menus.




  • Nieco Corp. BroilVection: This burner system captures waste heat and blows it back down on broiling products to utilize both radiant heat and forced convection for faster cooking and up to 40% gas savings.




  • Novothermic Technologies NVX 2060 Heat Recovery System: A self-contained system that recovers otherwise wasted heat from drained hot water to warm incoming fresh water, significantly enhancing the energy efficiency of any existing commercial dishmachine.




  • Ovention Shuttle Oven: This ventless impingement oven transitions seamlessly between conveyor and matchbox mode at the touch of a button to contain heat, moisture and grease-laden air for improved speed, menu flexibility and energy efficiency.




  • Pearl City Mfg. Convection Gas Fryer: This unique fryer design continually circulates oil through a remote heat exchanger and incorporates a dual filter system to achieve significant oil savings, 70% cooking energy efficiency, instant temperature recovery and reduced cook times.




  • Rational USA VarioSmoker: A small, plug-and-play mobile smoke system retrofits with nearly every Rational combi-steamer built since 1997 so operators can successfully smoke and cook simultaneously to save time, space and investment costs.




  • Star Mfg. Holman Impingement Conveyor Toaster: The unit achieves fast, efficient and more even toasting by combining radiant heat with impingement through recirculating heated, high-speed air over bread and other products.




  • ThermalRite CypenVac Technology: This vacuum technology significantly increases the thermal resistance of insulation panels used in blast chillers and other insulated cabinets and, used in conjunction with conventional polyurethane insulation, can reduce energy consumption by up to 43%.




  • Turbo Coil Turbo Coil: The fully assembled, stainless compact evaporator coil is uniquely designed with a patented twin blower system that enables reduced energy consumption and superior installation versatility.




  • TurboChef Technologies The TurboChef Fire: This countertop convection oven features integral flow cylinders that channel airflow to rapidly increase heat transfer, reaching evenly dispersed temperatures up to 800°F to cook 14-in., fresh-dough pizzas in as little as 90 seconds.




  • The Vollrath Co. Downdraft Vent Module: The front-of-the-house cooking station integrates downdraft venting, fire containment and suppression and drop-in induction in the same base to meet the commercial requirements for emissions and foodservice fire safety.




  • Vulcan/ITW FEG PowerFry5 With FivePass Heat Transfer: This Energy Star-qualified fryer maximizes energy use with a signature technology that reclaims and circulates heat five times inside and outside the tank, resulting in faster recovery/cook times, less wear and higher productivity.




  • Wicked Edge Precision Sharpeners Wicked Edge Professional Series: The precision, angle-controlled knife-sharpening machine allows in-house kitchen staff to easily maintain professional-grade sharpness for all kitchen cutlery. 




  • Wilbur Curtis Co. Wireless Freshness Monitoring System: The remote monitoring system tracks the freshness of food and beverages/coffee and uses proprietary communication technology to report to a single interface, increasing quality and reducing waste, safety risks, cost and equipment downtime.

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